In Integrity is the Most Important Requirement in a Manager, I talked about integrity as a requirement for a manager. With the current Patriots scandal, I’m wondering what Belichick was thinking.
I don’t claim to know everything about football. I enjoy watching the games. I enjoy seeing a team come together, which is what the Patriots have done over the last few years. I am surprised that videotaping the other coaches is against NFL policy. (Oh, come on, when cameras can be hidden in glasses–which will happen in a few years–how is the NFL going to catch people taping the other team?) But it is against NFL policy, at least for now.
I asked Mark, who Knows All Things Football, at least in our house, about the taping. He said, “Everyone’s doing it.” The idealistic part of me says, “Maybe.” The cynical part of me says, “Figures.”
But even if everyone else is doing it, it’s not right. Not according to the current rules.
I’m trying to remember a time when I thought that going against the rules in a cheating way was appropriate. Then I remembered something I do all the time. I encourage my clients and colleagues to do work in an iterative/incremental way even on a supposed serial lifecycle. I tell people they don’t have to explain everything about their work to their management–that all they have to do is deliver results. (Which they can’t do in a serial lifecycle, but can in an iterative/incremental lifecycle.)
I’d like to think I’m doing something different from Belichick. I’m not telling people to spy on another group without their knowledge, and use the new-found information against them. I am telling people to “lie” by omission. (I’d never thought that was lying until now.)
Up until today, I thought that the ends–a successful project–justified the means. Now I’m not so sure. Part of me says that the project team are the experts and they should be in charge of their work process. That same part is sure the management team who insists on a serial lifecycle either doesn’t understand what they want, or doesn’t realize that artifacts are no guarantee of a working product. But the other part of me is wondering if I shouldn’t insist that project teams–who work in a way their managers don’t understand and deliberately keep that information from management–should tell their management what they’re doing.
I’m curious what you think. Are there times when the project ends justify the means? Where do you draw the line?